Vena’s Fizz House is now offering online mixology classes. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

We’ve all been there, wishing we could take up some cool new hobby or learn a rewarding new skill, but never quite finding the time.

Well guess what? The time has suddenly found you. With most people still hunkered down at home for a while, this might be a perfect time to learn how to tap dance, carry a tune or even make a great cocktail.

There are Mainers with these skills with time on their hands too, who can teach you online. Here are a few suggestions for lessons being taught online by Mainers right now.

SHAKEN AND STIRRED

Bring your virtual happy hours to a whole new level by learning the art of mixology, taught by the good barkeeps at Vena’s Fizz House in Portland using Zoom. When you sign up for the class, you’re given a list of things you’ll need and told when it will be. To register and find out more about class time, email [email protected].  Right now, Vena’s is offering three online classes. Mixology 101 is a two-hour class that includes a brief history of spirits, the art and science of mixology and a how-to on three different drinks, for $25 a person. Let’s Make Mocktails is a 90-minute class on sophisticated “bitter enhanced” drinks with no alcohol, for $20. The third is Fizzology 101, for kids 8-12. The one-hour class shows how herbs, berries, fruits and spices can be made into homemade soda. The cost is $10 a person, with a maximum group of 12.

Several Maine establishments are also giving free online cocktail tutorials right now – with options for tipping – including The Front Porch in Ogunquit and Three of Strong Spirits in Portland.

Rockland chef and cookbook author Annie Mahle has begun cooking classes on YouTube. Photo by Jill Brady

SING OUT LOUD

If you’ve always want to learn to sing, there are plenty of Maine voice teachers and music schools who can help you online, so don’t feel restricted to this list. Crystal Taber has been teaching for 10 years and has students aged 6 to 77. Her rates begin at $17 for 30 minutes, and she can be contacted through her Facebook page. Courtney Naliboff of North Haven offers a 30-minute beginner lesson for people who want to improve their breathing, vocal confidence, range and tone in a variety of styles. Her prices start at $20 for a half hour and are negotiable based on need. She can be found on Facebook too.

Some of the music schools around Maine are offering singing  and instrument lessons online, including 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth, Midcoast School of Music in Portland, Maine Academy of Modern Music in Portland and Midcoast Music Academy in Rockland.

IN THE KITCHEN WITH ANNIE

Rockland chef and cookbook author Annie Mahle began doing video cooking lessons on YouTube a couple weeks ago and posting them on her website because she heard a lot of people were baking bread during the pandemic, but not always having good luck. Learning from a recipe is one thing, Mahle says, but learning from watching is another. As of last week, she had done 10 episodes, posting one about every other day. She often focuses on what people might have on hand. Recent recipes included Bailey’s Irish Cream chocolate mint bars and roast chicken with root vegetables. To find other online cooking classes, check out the Press Herald’s Maine Street virtual listings.

Nikki Oliveri of Bristles Paint Parties in Biddeford has taken her paint parties online. Photo courtesy of Nikki Oliveri

PAINT PARTY

Nikki Oliveri of Bristles Paint Parties, a Biddeford art studio, has been holding her paint parties online for free as of late. One is scheduled for Monday, May 4, and people can find out when new ones are scheduled by checking her studio’s Facebook page. Registration is required and can be done by clicking “find tickets” on the Facebook event page. Recommended supplies will be listed too, but Oliveri said a lot of people do well with limited supplies. The paintings Oliveri does online are for all skill levels, designed to help people have fun and be creative with their art, she said.

THE NEXT GENE KELLY

Jennifer Kain and her husband, Ray Lemay, usually teach swing and tap dancing at venues around southern Maine through their business, Lindy Maine. Now they’re holding classes virtually, through Zoom. One is tap dancing for beginners, at 10 a.m. Saturdays, and can be done with or without tap shoes. They are also planning to do a beginner’s class for a solo style of the Lindy Hop swing dance, called Authentic Solo Jazz. Classes are free but donations are welcome. More information on their class can be found at LindyMaine.com.

ALL (GREEN) THUMBS

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering online gardening classes and tips as part of its Growing Maine Gardeners initiative. There’s a weekly video series called Victory Garden for ME, which will include 20-minute prerecorded videos geared toward helping people with their first vegetable garden. Extension staff also hosts 1-hour sessions featuring short lessons on various topics three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Thursday – as part of the Garden Chats series on Zoom. Plus there are weekly Growing Maine Gardeners video tutorials online as well, on various gardening areas.


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